Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Set Up? Not!

Raw Story mauls yet another important story with an unfortunate and inaccurate headline: Lawyer questions whether Spitzer was set up, noting political prosecutions. Scott Horton's story says nothing about a "set up." Set up is defined as "something done by deceit or trickery in order to compromise or frame someone." Elliot Spitzer wasn't framed. He committed a crime. He may be a huge hypocrite and disappointment but he wasn't "set up.".

By falsely crying "Set Up!", Raw aids the right wing noise machine's attempts to obscure the extremely disconcerting Ken Starr-like aspect of this story: the US government was apparently investigating Spitzer, the once rising star of the Democratic party, not because they had any evidence that he had ever committed any crime but to see if they could find
any evidence that he had ever committed a crime.

This is not a minor distinction. As Scott Horton puts it more clearly:

All of these facts are consistent with a process which is not the investigation of a crime, but rather an attempt to target and build a case against an individual.
The contrast between a swift politically motivated investigation of Spitzer to determine if there was evidence (plus the accompanying leak) and the many stalled and undisclosed or reluctantly disclosed investigation of Republicans couldn't be more distinct.

I guarantee that if you devote enough resources to investigate anyone, you will find them guilty of some crime large or small. (This is doubly so when combing through someone's financials). Ken Starr spent $40 million+ and seven years to find Bill Clinton guilty not for murdering Vince Foster, the alleged Whitewater swindle, Travelgate et al but lying about his infidelity. I'm not absolving Bill Clinton or Spitzer of their guilt. Even smart people do very stupid things. Eliot Spitzer was very, very stupid.

It will be interesting to see how the Bush Administration attempts to justify this one.